Various – Niney The Observer Presents Jah Fire: The Observer 7″ Singles Collection 1976-1977

by Apr 14, 2024Reviews, Various

Various - Niney The Observer Presents Jah Fire

Release Info

Label
Doctor Bird/Cherry Red Records
Format
DBL CD
Street date
April 12, 2024
Contact
Website Record Label

Tracklist

DISC ONE

1 Rock On – Gregory Isaacs
2 I Heart Is Clean – Cornel Campbell
3 Gate Number – Clint Eastwood
4 I Am Still Thinking – Junior Delgado
5 On A Saturday Night – Christine
6 I’m In Love – Horace Andy
7 I Soon Know – Niney as The Messiah
8 Psalms 68 – Horace Andy
9 Mr. Rich Man – Leroy Smart
10 Oh Jah Man – The Rockstones
11 Point Blank – I Roy
12 Six Dead Nineteen Gone To Jail – Big Youth
13 Slave Master – Gregory Isaacs
14 Flat Foot Hustling – Dillinger
15 Zion Trip – I Roy
16 I Soon Know – Niney
17 Run Run – Junior Byles
18 Sister Maggie Breast – I Roy
19 One Lick – The Jewels
20 Rasta No Pickpocket– Niney
21 Moses – Jacob Miller
22 Step On The Dragon – I Roy

DISC TWO

1 Weeping – Junior Byles
2 Water Rate – I Roy
3 Materialist – Horace Andy
4 Hold Not Thy Peace Oh Jah – Hubert Ford
5 Can You Feel It – Junior Byles
6 Natty Dread Come Over – Little Bop
7 Camp Road Skanking – I Roy
8 Dem Never Tell I – Horace Andy
9 I Got A Feeling – Tyrone Taylor
10 Zimbabwe – The Soul Syndicate
11 Jamaican Girl – I Roy
12 What Kind Of World – Junior Byles
13 Burn Me Out – The Rockstones
14 Jah Fire – Niney
15 Sufferation – Tyrone Taylor
16 Roll River Jordan – Niney
17 Jah Come Here – I Roy
18 Jah Jah I – Dhaima
19 Head Shot – Bobby Ellis & The Observers
20 King Of Babylon – Junior Byles
21 Nebuchadnezzer – Dillinger
22 Confusion In A Babylon – The Messiahs
23 Native Land – I Roy

This disc includes many tracks new to CD, some of the biggest Reggae stars of the era and many of the finest Roots Reggae tracks of the 1970s. When 1976 came along, Niney The Observer was widely seen as one of Jamaica’s finest producers on the island’s music scene. Niney worked with many top Reggae artists, including Dennis Brown, Ken Boothe, Denis Wilson, Junior Byles, Big Youth and Max Romeo. Niney’s reputation as a producer came with his ability to be a man of the people. This 2CD collection comes with Niney’s finest productions from the golden age of classic Roots music and featured we have Gregory Isaacs, Cornel Campbell, Junior Byles and Horace Andy amongst others. Many of the tracks have not been heard widely for almost 50 years.

DISC ONE (a selection)

1. ROCK ON – Gregory Isaacs. This self-penned number comes mid-tempo and we hear the Jamaican legend that is Gregory Isaacs with his usual top-notch vocal work Some fine percussion from time-to-time throughout and a fine start to this disc and 5mins+ in duration. Released on The Thing label (7″) in Jamaica in 1975. 3. GATE NUMBER – Clint Eastwood. This, as one might expect, is a talk-over number with Eastwood full-on with the vocal that comes fronting a semi-Reggae rhythm, The Revolutionaries are on the backing track. Released on the Observer label in Jamaica (7″). 6. I’M IN LOVE – Horace Andy. This is faster than previous tracks and self-penned by the vocalist. Horace has always given his all vocally and this is no exception. The rhythm track comes quite laid-back and the overall recording is catchy. Released in Jamaica on Observer label (7″) in 1976. 8. PSALM 68 – Horace Andy. Does not come over as a psalm but nevertheless we again hear from Horace on a faster number. The backing track is laid-back and along with the vocal the track becomes infectious. This track can be found on the ‘Feel Good All Over Horace Andy Anthology 1970 – 1976’ box collection from Trojan. Released in Jamaica (7″) in 1976. 11. POINT BLANK – I Roy. Starting off with a long-spoken intro before the backing track, that is supplied by The Soul Syndicate comes in as a Dub sounding rhythm track. Nothing about this being other than one would expect from the vocalist. Released on Observer label (7″) in 1977. 13. SLAVE MASTER – Gregory Isaacs. This self-penned number is a slower number on which Isaacs is in a mellow mood, vocally fronting a punchy rhythm track. Usual top-notch performance by the vocalist. Released in Jamaica on The Thing label (7″) and UK on Third World label (7″) in 1977. 16. I SOON KNOW – Niney. Another slower number on which Niney sings about Alaska in front of a punchy rhythm track. There is vocal help from a backing chorus, probably the backing group members and overall it is a good track. Released in Jamaica on the Observer label in 1976 and re-issued UK on Observer in 2010. 19. ONE LICK – The Jewels. Have no idea who the performers are, just to say they are of male make-up. This is mid-tempo and has a straight Reggae rhythm with drums prominent. Why this has its title one is not quite sure but it is a pleasing sound, coming with a King Tubby Dub mix. Released in Jamaica on the Observer label and in the UK on Nationwide label in 1977. Owned by Bert Campbell and handled by Ital Records, London. 22. STEP ON THE DRAGON – I Roy. Yes, the vocal is spoken and it is over Dennis Brown’s ‘Wolf And Leopards’ rhythm track. As with many talk-overs the lyrics are hard to pick up but overall it is a good sound to finish off disc 1. Released in Jamaica on the Observer label (7″) in 1977.

DISC TWO (a selection)

1. WEEPING – Junior Byles. A mid-tempo number on which we hear the clear vocals from Junior, a much-underrated singer in one’s opinion. The rhythm track comes with some percussion and is written by Junior, it is a catchy sound. Released on The Thing label in Jamaica (7″). 4. HOLD NOT THY PEACE IH JAH – Hubert Ford. As far as one can make-out, this is the vocalist’s one and only solo recording and this comes with a spoken vocal. The backing track is hard to define as it nestles way into the background. At one stage Hurbert is joined by backing vocalists, another version was recorded by Jamaican Keith Poppin. Released in Jamaica on the Observer label (7″) in 1977. 7. CAMP ROAD SKANKING – I Roy. Naturally this comes as a talk-over sound on which I Roy is joined by backing singers and Junior Delgado at various stages throughout. The backing is laid-back and at 2mins 49secs it is long enough as it does not really go anywhere. Released in Jamaica as the B side to ‘Point Blank’ on the Observer label (7″) in 1977. 10. ZIMBABWI – The Soul Syndicate. This is an instrumental sound on which we hear the accomplished musicianship of a lesser-recording outfit. The main instrument is the horn and overall this is very infectious. This was recorded in aid of Jamaica’s Department Of Medicine. Released in Jamaica on the Department Of Medicine label (7″) in 1977. 13. BURN ME Out – The Rockstones. This track is mid-tempo and comes from an outfit one has not heard that much from but I’m glad to hear this as it is a cool Roots number with clear vocals. Released in Jamaica on Militant Records in 1977 with the song credited to Rock Tone Band. Re-issued in the UK on the Observer label (7″) in 2010, with the name Rockstones printed on the label. 15. SUFFERATION – Tyrone Taylor. Starting with a spoken intro it moves into a mid-tempo number with a smooth rhythm backing. Tyrone’s vocal is clear and precise, Tyrone put together two groups during his recording career, The Soul Minders and Soul Twins. Released in Jamaica on the Observer label (7″). 18. JAH JAH I – Dhaima. At last we hear a female artist, albeit one that the listener may not have come across before. The vocal is strong and clear with a pulsating rhythm track. This is self-penned by the vocalist and comes as one of the top tracks on the disc. Released in Jamaica on the Paradise label (7″) in 1977. 21. NEBUCHADNEZZER – Dillinger. If you know the recordings of Dillinger then this will come as no surprise. It comes as a talk-over semi-Dub number with a full-on rhythm track dominated by heavy drumming. As on recordings such as this the vocal is difficult to work-out but this comes as a pleasant enough sound. This track appeared on the Trojan album ‘Dillinger : Blood & Fire : Hit Sounds From The Observer Station 1970-1978’. 23. NATIVE LAND – I Roy. Finishing off this disc and collection we hear the unmistakable sound of one of Jamaica’s top talk-over artists. As usual the lyrics are hard to recognise and I Roy gives a full-on vocal with the rhythm track also full-on. Released in Jamaica as the B side to ‘Water-Rate’ on The Thing label (7″) in 1977.

To sum up this 2CD collection, it contains numerous highly-rated Roots Reggae recordings and performed by many of Jamaica’s finest artists along with production work from one of the island’s legendary producers. Niney was arguably up with his good friend Lee ‘Srcatch’ Perry. This collection comes expertly put together by the usual team at Cherry Red Records and along with the ever present 8-page informative booklet it is top value, especially for fans of Roots Reggae, at £14 99p.

Read more about:

Gregory Isaacs – Rock On

Junior Byles – Weeping

Jacob Miller – Moses

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